46th Test Wing

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46th Test Wing
Air Force Materiel Command.png
F-35 AA-1 (front-view) on display at Eglin.jpg
F-35 on display during its first visit to Eglin and the 46th Test Wing
Active1941–1944, 1975–1982, 1992–2012
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleDevelopmental Test and Evaluation
Part ofAir Force Material Command
Motto(s)Custos Libertate Latin (Guardian of Liberty) 1942–1944
Support 1975–1983
Proof by Trial 1993–2012
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award
Insignia
46th Test Wing emblem (approved 9 December 1993)[1]46th Test Wing.png
Patch with 46th Aerospace Defense Wing emblem (approved 25 March 1975)[2][note 1]46th Aerospace Defense Wing.jpg
46th Bombardment Group emblem (approved 14 July 1942)[3]46 Bombardment Gp emblem.png

The 46th Test Wing is an inactive wing of the United States Air Force last based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The wing's 46th Test Group was a tenant unit at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The wing's history dates from 1941, when the Army Air Forces (AAF) activated the 46th Bombardment Group. The group served in the early period of the United States' involvement in World War II flying antisubmarine missions over the Gulf of Mexico. It then served as a training unit until being disbanded in 1944 in a general reorganization of AAF units.

The 46th Aerospace Defense Wing replaced the 4600th Air Base Wing to provide administrative and logistic support to headquarters elements of Air Defense Command and North American Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. It was inactivated in 1983.

The wing and group were consolidated into a single unit in 1984, but remained inactive until 1992, when the consolidated unit was activated at Eglin as the 46th Test Wing. The wing managed test and development at Eglin and at Holloman until 2012 when its functions were combined with those of the 96th Air Base Wing in a reorganization of Air Force Materiel Command.

Mission[edit]

Media related to 46th Test Wing (United States Air Force) at Wikimedia Commons

The wing executed developmental test and evaluation for Air Force air-delivered weapons, navigation, and guidance systems, command and control systems and Air Force special operations systems.[4]

History[edit]

The 87th Bombardment Squadron

World War II[edit]

The wing was activated as the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) and in 1941, equipped with Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft.[3] Its operational squadrons were the 50th,[5] 51st,[6] and 53d Bombardment Squadrons,[7] and the 8th Reconnaissance Squadron.[8] Shortly after activation in 1941, the 8th Reconnaissance Sq mission changed and it became the 87th Bombardment Squadron.[8] The 46th participated in maneuvers, including desert maneuvers,[9] and flew anti-submarine warfare patrol and search missions over the Gulf of Mexico in early 1942.[3] It also served as an operational training unit,[3] which involved the use of an oversized parent unit to provide cadres for "satellite groups."[10] In late 1943 the group mission changed to replacement training of individual pilots and aircrews (RTU).[3][10] Just before disbanding, the group began to convert to North American B-25 Mitchells.[5][6][7][8] In 1944, the group was disbanded and its personnel, equipment and functions transferred to the 333d AAF Base Unit (Replacement Training Unit, Light Bombardment)[11] at Morris Field in a major reorganization of the Army Air Forces in which RTUs were disbanded and training activities given to base units.[12]

Cold War[edit]

In March 1975, 46th Aerospace Defense Wing was activated to replace the 4600th Air Base Wing at Peterson Field, where it took over the personnel, equipment, and of the 4600th and its mission of administering facilities of North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), Aerospace Defense Command (ADC), and Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM) located on Ent Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, plus various other nearby off-base facilities,[13] which the 4600th wing had been performing from Ent Air Force Base, then from Peterson Field since April 1958.[14] Despite its name, the wing was a "disguised" air base wing.[15] Although the provision of administrative and logistics support was the wing's primary mission, its flying training squadron served NORAD and ADC mission requirements and provided flying training for cadets at the United States Air Force Academy until 1 October 1979,[13] when ADC was inactivated and the wing transferred to the 4th Air Division of Strategic Air Command.[1] In April 1983, the 46th was inactivated and replaced by the 1st Space Wing.[16]

Test Operations[edit]

The 46th was redesignated as the 46th Test Wing and replaced the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in October 1992.[1] It designed and performed flight and ground developmental tests with uniquely modified aircraft and facilities for conventional weapons and electronic combat systems.[1] The wing also supported other Department of Defense components and numerous allied nations during test and exercises and managed the largest test range in the free world.[1] Weapons systems recently tested by the wing include the Small Diameter Bomb, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Target Void Sensing Fuze, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and the Trident Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.[17] The wing worked closely with the 53d Wing of Air Combat Command, which performed operational testing of many of the same weapons systems.[17]

In February 2012, the wing relocated its UH-1N helicopters from Eglin to Duke Field in anticipation of a 250 percent increase in helicopter developmental test programs.[18] The wing mission transferred to the 96th Air Base Wing, which was redesignated as the 96th Test Wing on 18 July 2012.[19] The 46th Test Wing was subsequently inactivated on 1 October 2012.

Lineage[edit]

Bombardment Group

  • Constituted as the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 November 1940[3]
Activated on 15 January 1941[3]
Disbanded on 1 May 1944[3]
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing as the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing on 31 January 1984[1]

Wing

  • Constituted as the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing on 10 February 1975[13]
Activated on 15 March 1975[13]
Inactivated on 1 April 1983[13]
  • Consolidated with the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) on 31 January 1984[1]
  • Redesignated 46th Test Wing on 24 September 1992[1]
Activated on 1 October 1992.[1]
Inactivated on 1 October 2012

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Groups

  • 46th Logistics Group (later 46th Maintenance Group): ca. 8 September 1993 – 1 October 2012 (attached to 96th Test Wing after 18 July 2012)
  • 46th Operations Group: 8 September 1993 – 1 October 2012 (attached to 96th Test Wing after 18 July 2012)[20]
  • 46th Range Group 11 May 2006 – 1 October 2012 (attached to 96th Test Wing after 18 July 2012)
  • 46th Test Group: 1 October 1992 – 1 October 2012 (attached to 96th Test Wing after 18 July 2012)[21]
Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and Launch Vehicles Operated[edit]

Awards and campaign[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1975–30 June 1977 46th Aerospace Defense Wing[13]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1977–30 June 1979 46th Aerospace Defense Wing[13]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1992-31 December 1992 46th Test Wing[1][note 2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1992–31 December 1993 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1994–31 December 1994 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1995–31 December 1995 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1997–31 December 1997 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1998–31 December 1999 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2001–31 December 2001 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2002–31 December 2002 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2000–31 December 2000 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2003–31 December 2003 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2004–31 December 2004 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2005–31 December 2005 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2006–31 December 2006 46th Test Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2008–31 December 2008 46th Test Wing[25]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2010 46th Test Wing[25]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
American Campaign Streamer.png Antisubmarine 7 December 1941 – 23 May 42 46th Bombardment Group[3]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Explanatory notes
  1. ^ This emblem was originally approved for the 4600th Air Base Wing on 13 July 1961. Ravenstein, p. 75.
  2. ^ This was a shared award with 3246th Test Wing.
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Robertson, Patsy (4 September 2008). "Factsheet 46 Test Wing (AFMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  2. ^ Endicott, p. 125. Ravenstein claims the emblem was used without authorization upon activation. Ravenstein, p. 75.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 104–105
  4. ^ 46th Test Wing Home Page
  5. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 214–215
  6. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p.227
  7. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp.220–221
  8. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 299
  9. ^ "Abstract, History of 46th Bomb Gp 1941–1944". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  10. ^ a b Craven & Cate, Introduction, p. xxxvi
  11. ^ See "Abstract, History of Morris Field, 1940–1944". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  12. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 7
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Ravenstein, p. 75
  14. ^ "Abstract, History of 4600th Air Base Wing, Jan–Jun 1971". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  15. ^ Ravenstein, p. viii
  16. ^ "Abstract, History of 46th Aerospace Defense Wing, Jan–Mar 1983". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  17. ^ a b No byline (12 December 2011). "46th Test Wing garners Air Force award". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  18. ^ No byline (6 March 2012). "The 46th Test Wing's Hueys relocated to Eglin's Duke Field". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  19. ^ No byline (19 June 2012). "AFMC prepares for 5-center transition". Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  20. ^ Robertson, Patsy (4 September 2008). "Factsheet 46 Operations Group (AFMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  21. ^ Robertson, Patsy (5 June 2009). "Factsheet 46 Test Group (AFMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  22. ^ Haulman, Daniel L. (22 October 2018). "Factsheet 40 Flight Test Squadron". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Mueller, p. 474
  24. ^ Wilson, p. 128
  25. ^ a b "Air Force Recognition Programs". Air Force Personnel Center. (search)

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.